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Union-Backed Group Starts New Health Care Ad Campaign

A liberal coalition that has been highly critical of the Senate health care legislation has launched a campaign to prod Congressional negotiators to adopt a final measure that resembles the more expansive House version.

Health Care for America Now, which has already poured millions of dollars into advertisements that promote health care reform, Tuesday began running ads on cable television that tout the House bill. That measure requires most employers to provide health insurance, offers a public insurance option and levies a tax on the wealthiest Americans to pay for subsidized coverage.

The group, which includes major labor unions, has been critical of the Senate plan crafted to win the votes of Democratic moderates by excluding the public insurance option and the employer mandate while imposing a tax on expensive health, or “Cadillac,— plans to pay for coverage.

“Under the House plan, we’ll be offered good coverage at work,— the ad says. “And we won’t pay a tax on our health benefits.—

The $400,000 spot, titled “Marathon,— comes as Democratic leaders huddle to hammer out a final health care bill that many observers believe will have to more closely follow the Senate bill to win over the necessary 60 votes in that chamber.

HCAN spokeswoman Jacki Schechner admitted she did not know if the latest campaign would work but said its goal is to “keep up the pressure— on lawmakers.

“You don’t know what impact you will have, but that doesn’t mean you give up the fight,— she said.

Meanwhile, businessman Richard Scott, who has underwritten a conservative campaign to defeat the Democrats’ health care plans, was declaring victory after a top House lawmaker conceded the final version will not likely include a public option.

Scott, who founded Conservatives for Patients’ Rights, issued a statement gleefully pointing to the recent acknowledgment by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, that he had serious doubts about whether the final bill would include the public option.

Scott said Waxman’s statement was “one of the first signs that the House of Representatives won’t insist on driving America over the single-payer health care cliff.—

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